Queen Amina of Zaria was a fearless warrior and a great queen.
One of the greatest Nigerian women ever is Queen Amina of Zaria.
Tales have been told about her bravery in battle and her exploits on the battlefield. She is one of those few historical figures who appear to be myths but were actually real life human beings. She accomplished great things that men during her time couldn't do.
Queen Amina's story starts circa 1533 in the province called Zazzau now known as Zaria. The province was part of the seven city-states in Hausa land that owned the Sub-Saharan trade towards the end of the 16th century.
Amina was the daughter of a queen. Her name was Magajiya, the Queen Bakwa of Turunku. Amina learnt how to be a queen from her mother. By 16 she was seen as a contender to her mother's throne. She also learnt the affairs of the state by sitting on her grandfather's laps who was the king.
Queen Bakwa died circa 1566. Amina's brother Karama took over as king. Amina focused her attention on her military skills. She joined the warriors of Zazzau and soon became the leading warrior in the Calvary. Her position increased her fame, power and wealth.
Queen Amina ascended the throne in 1576 after her brother Karama died after 10 years. She reigned for 34 years and was successful in many military campaigns. She made neighbouring rulers her vassals. She introduced metal armour to her army.
She was a brilliant military strategist who used earthen walls to fortify all her camps. Some of these walls know as ganuwar of Amina can still be seen in Zaria today.
It was said she never married or had kids. Instead, she took a lover from each region she conquered. After sleeping with the man once, she would order for him to be killed so as to prevent him from telling others about their sexual encounter.
Her legendary exploits in battle made her known as "Amina, daughter of Nikatau" "which means "a woman as capable as a man." Like every great warrior, Queen Amina died in battle in 1610.
Nigeria has not had a greater female warrior than Queen Amina.
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